A quieter, more traditional alternative to Dubai, the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is an excellent place for a relaxing stay.
See the more recent history of the area in the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah.
Ras Al Khaimah is particularly known for its folklore, folk music, folk dance and other traditional art forms. Look out for colourful demonstrations of the traditional dances.
The fresh food markets and some of the souk areas of Ras Al Khaimah date back to the distant past when Julfar was the nerve centre of trade in the whole region. Today, traditional souks are found in the old town just off Al Qawasim Cornish Road, close to the sea and along the creek beside the morning fish market. The modern shops and mall are in the Al Nakheel area just over the bridge that spans the Creek. In the old Souk area nearby, shops sell interesting and traditional handicrafts, herbs and spices, textiles and other merchandise, all reasonably priced.
For more modern shopping, try Al Manar Shopping Centre, Al Waha Centre and Lulu Centre.
Khatt Hot Springs Spa is just 20 minutes’ drive from the city towards the airport. The spa consists of three natural springs of hot mineralized water, reaching temperatures of 40°C. Relax in the therapeutic pools and enjoy the other facilities.
The Awafi Festival is held from 11th January to 2nd February. The festival venue features a Heritage Village with 35 pavilions that provide various folkloric associations with the chance to present their talents. The Yola Traditional Dance Contest is inspired by the Bedouin lifestyle. Contestants fling a sword, stick or rifle in the air, and then catch it as they dance. There is also the high drama of the dune climbing motor sport events.
The Al Hamra Golf Club and Resort features a Peter Harradine-designed championship 18-hole course, shaped around a large, salt-water lagoon. Alternatively, the Tower Links Golf Club has a challenging 18 hole, par 72 golf course.
In the know
The Cove Rotana offers a number of ways to make your stay extra special – if you know about them! Here are our insider’s secrets for The Cove Rotana:
Rooms at the top of the resort are closer to the breakfast restaurant and pool.
Rooms at the bottom are closer to the beach.
Hill villas tend to be more private than sea-side ones.
Rooms with numbers in the 6000 to 8000 range are closer to the restaurant.
If you want to use the on-call buggy service to get around, call reception ten minutes before you need them.
Second floor rooms tend to have the best sea views.
If you have a villa with a plunge pool, you’ll find the ones that get direct sunlight warm the water a lot better.